Core Curriculum Overview

In fourth grade, students really start applying the reading skills they have learned in the prior grades to help them comprehend denser texts. From chapter books to scientific articles, they will learn how to analyze and comprehend various forms of writing styles. Study skills also become more important in fourth grade, since they will start handling long-term assignments.

Here are some broad ideas of what students are expected to learn this year:

  • Use contextual clues to discover the meaning of words.
  • Understand and use the steps of the writing process from pre-writing to the final draft.
  • Write research reports.
  • Recognize how science is at work in the world around them, especially through technology.
  • Use encyclopedias, newspapers, atlases, and magazines as resources.
  • Understand the history and geography of their state.

Some of the highlights of 4th Grade include our student-led Veteran Assembly, Veteran Essay Contest, Artifact Analysis of the PNW (MOHAI kits), and hands-on science projects (our favorites have to do with volcanoes and electricity!).


Fourth Grade math is usually still at a level that most adults can keep up with, although parents may need a refresher regarding long division on paper. This year’s math is more complicated than anything our students have done before. The math curriculum follows the Common Core Standards for Fourth Grade with a focus on three critical areas. First, students will develop an understanding of multi-digit multiplication and dividing to find multi-digit dividends. They learn how to apply the correct methods to estimate or mentally calculate products or dividends. Second, the students will learn to add and subtract fractions with the same denominator and the multiplication of fractions by whole numbers. Third, fourth graders will understand that geometric figures can be analyzed and classified based on their properties. They learn how to understand the properties of two-dimensional objects and use them to solve problems about symmetry. Students will continue to use the interactive Math in Focus curriculum to master the Common Core Standards.


In third grade kids take their basic reading skills to the next level.  They’ll by now have learned how to decipher words they don’t understand, by context clues or looking at pictures.  Your third grader will now delve into chapter books (if they haven’t already don so) and fact books. This year, students transition from learning to read to reading to learn, which takes practice, practice, and more practice! They will be asked to discuss book stories and facts in smaller groups, and to summarize and present book reports.  We will introduce different kinds of writing, from newspapers and magazines, to web sites, to fiction and fact books. Third graders are expected to read a minimum of 20 minutes everyday at home. As homework, they will record their reading minutes on the Weekly Reading Log. At-home reading will include books of students’ choosing as well as teacher-assigned science, social studies, or spelling assignments. We will be using the Wonders curriculum for our Language Arts learning -reading, writing, spelling- which provides opportunities for students to practice reading skills/strategies independently, with a peer, and in small groups.


Fourth-grade writing is closely interconnected with reading. Now that our fourth graders are reading more nonfiction, they will also be writing informational reports in complete paragraphs. If it hasn’t been before, writing is now a daily activity with a focus on using a variety of different types of punctuation to create sentences. Students will learn the proper use of quotations marks and the power of dialogue in a story, striving to develop their personal voice and writing style. They will also be taught to use research tools to create a coherent, detailed report. We start our year by working on writing stamina as well as our Personal Narrative unit.

Social Studies

Fourth Grade offers students their first in depth look at the history of the United States and our country’s place in global events. The students will learn about Native Americans by region, learning about the customs of tribes in those areas. Next, they will learn about European exploration into America, and why they first found the continent. The students will then learn about the new system of government set up by the United States and the problem the young nation faced. The course then covers some important events in the early years of the country, the westward expansion of the United States and the new challenges this created. The Civil War is discussed, including the reasons and some of the major battles. The students will also learn about the growth of industry in the country and about the rush of immigrants. They will learn about America’s role in the first World War and about the Great Depression that followed. World War II,  the Civil Right Movement and the Space Race will also be discussed.


In science, Fourth Grade students are ready to move on to looking at the scientific processes of classification of organisms, the arrangement of objects by properties, as well as measuring events. Using FOSS science kits, they will use hands-on investigations to explore the motion of objects, electricity and circuits, fossils, meteorology, and inherited traits. In learning about these different things, expect your fourth grader to begin asking many questions about the world around them, but try not to give them all the answers! Finding ways to answer their own questions is all part of the learning process. It’s amazing to watch them develop their reasoning skills. Our students really grow from literal thinkers into abstract thinkers throughout this year.